Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday Not-so-fun

I spent Friday curled up on the couch snoozing, sculling down liquids and gobbling down food in an attempt to help my body fight what I assume is swine flu. The doctor said it is a virus and that I am contagious. Given that I had the flu injection earlier this year (which should cover me for most of the known flus they have vaccines for) I expect that it is probably swine flu. The doctor said that they aren't testing everyone for swine flu now, but only those at risk - asthmatics, elderly, pregnant women, and people with a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius.

I've been achy, coughing, and OH SO TIRED! It wasn't all bad though, as I got to enjoy a lazy day while it rained outside my window. I love the rain. And, today (Saturday), I'm actually feeling a lot better. I woke up this morning to find my feet tapping (something they do when they want to go for a run) and as I prepared my usual coffee and porridge, I looked out at the gorgeous day and felt it would be a perfect day for a bike ride. Obviously, I'm not going to put my body through any of that today - I still need to rest a little longer. But it's good to see I'm well on the road to recovery.

So, I spent even less time in the classroom this week and when I was in there, it had it's own little elements of higglety piggletiness.

Fun This Week

Chance and Data
We covered Chance and Data in Maths this week. I taught one lesson on this for my own Maths class and one lesson for Mr Tucker's class. (His relief teacher had to go to her sick child and I was off class for my executive day, so I went back on his class to fill the gap.) We explored ideas around rolling dice, pulling counters from a hat, tossing a coin, and spinning a spinner. Students really enjoyed these activities. For teachers in Australia and New Zealand, there are some great Chance and Data activities available on Scootle that allow students to explore these concepts.

Textiles and Design Projects
This week we introduced students to the next phase of their learning in our Textiles and Design Unit. We told them that they need to create an item that they can sell at school (at a fete, or market day or other). They need to consider the needs of their clientele and design something that they can make in three weeks using easily accessible resources and drawing on the skills they've learnt so far. We talked about the need to create quality items and determine a fair price. We also suggested that students speak to their proposed clientele prior to making their items in order to determine if their is a market for their product. It is exciting to see the ideas that students are coming up with and their enthusiasm in getting started with the process.

Cooperative Reading
I used my iPhone to record students thoughts about our Cooperative Reading Groups. I plan to use this information to make some adaptations. Here is a summary of their thoughts:

  • You can discuss your books and how you're enjoying them
  • Learn more about how to write better stories
  • Small groups with different books and we tell each other about those books
  • Get to space out the reading time
  • Have little groups and get to discuss your ideas and can have your own opinions
  • We share our ideas with people
  • Learn how to use a roster
  • Allowed to read a book and do activities to get you more into the book and learn how to write better stories
  • People are enjoying their books and having fun
  • After we read we write it all down and the teacher gets to see what we're reading and then we share it with our groups too
  • Get to experience new authors and how they create characters, settings and plots
  • Most of the activities are too short
  • You get through the writing activities too quickly
  • Some of the Reading Response Journal sections are too easy
  • It's hard to know what to write in Reading Response Journal
  • Reading Response Journal is too repetitive and can get boring
  • People with large books are having trouble finding the time to do their allocated reading AND the writing tasks.
  • When there's too much talking it's hard to concentrate
Based on these responses, it seems that students find the discussion time very beneficial, but the Reading Response Journal needs to be re-worked. Perhaps it would be best to have a focus for each week and students write to that focus and share about that focus during their discussion groups. For example, one week might be focused on "interesting words and phrases", another on "descriptive passages", another on "characters", another on "author's style", another on "my perspective" and so on. That would mean there would be less repetition and that students would focus on these areas in greater depth.


  1. What a treat for me to actually click on the link in my Reader and visit the "real" blog, in full color. It really is a better reading experience seeing this come to life. I appreciate your reflections on the work you do each week and part of the reason for that is you are a great teacher who is learning as she goes. When you say that something didn't go quite as planned, I say, "Hey, me too!" When you ask your students to be part of the assessment as you did with the reading journals above, you are telling them they matter, what they say carries weight, and they help to inform/direct the instruction. This is the new teaching. It is driven with a certain amount of backbone in the planning but always knowing the learning can and should take us down unexpected paths, new learning adventures. Thanks for another great post. You motivate me to be better as a teacher.

  2. I'm so sorry that you were sick! I hope you are feeling better!


I'd love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please don't be shy...